United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. NAVARRO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Ryan W. Payne's
(“Payne”) Motion to Disqualify Jury Panel and
Send a New Questionnaire, (ECF No. 2639). The Government
filed a Response and Defendant filed a Reply. For the following
reasons, the Court DENIES Defendant's
Payne's instant Motion, he asserts that “the jury
questionnaire designed by the court, which can be filled out
only via internet does not allow for a proper cross section
of the community.” (Mot. to Disqualify 11:4-5, ECF No.
2639). Additionally, Payne argues that the statement of the
case “listed in the questionnaire fails to address the
information as mere allegations in an indictment, ” the
“lack of instructions concerning the filing [sic] out
of the indictment fails to allow counsel to properly
ascertain the reasons why significant portions of
questionnaires are left unanswered, ” and that the
questions “asked of the panel have a significant
government bias.” (Id. 11:6-10). The
Government asserts that Payne “provides no legal
authority . . . except for general exhortations to the Sixth
Amendment which doesn't address jury questionnaires at
all.” (Resp. 3:20-21, ECF No. 2719). The Court will
address each of these concerns in turn.
Methodology for Those Without Computers
alleges that “[i]t is not clear what instructions were
provided on the actual questionnaire as to the availability
of a hard copy or the need to pay for the postage of the
return of these questionnaires.” (Mot. to Disqualify
5:25-6:1). He continues that “[w]ithout the option of
being able to fill out a hard copy, . . . individuals who do
not have internet access either at work or home (low income
demographic) as well as older individuals not comfortable
with computer technology, were excluded from this jury
pool.” (Id. 6:1-5).
every prospective juror received a letter prior to filling
out the questionnaire that stated:
If you are unable to access the internet to complete this
process, please call the Jury Administrator's Office at
(702) 464-5600, option #0, to make an appointment to respond
to the Questionnaire on the Office's computers. . . .
Rather than require you to come to the Courthouse to answer
such questions in public, however, I've determined it is
sufficient for all prospective jurors to complete the
Questionnaire either online or in writing as explained above.
for those jurors that did not have access to a computer or
did not feel comfortable using a computer, the Court provides
two computers that are set up in the jury office where
individuals could come in and complete the questionnaire. For
this questionnaire, there were not any jurors who requested a
paper copy be mailed to them. In the previous two trials,
however, there were individuals who completed a paper copy.
There, the Court mailed a paper copy to these individuals
with a prepaid return envelope to return the questionnaire;
they were never required to pay for their own postage.
general methodology the Court used was as follows: the
Clerk's Office first mailed the letter mentioned
supra to all the jurors' home addresses
requesting them to respond to the questionnaire. For the
individuals who did not respond within the time frame
provided, the Clerk's Office sent emails with the letter
attached and a link to the questionnaire. If the individuals
did not have an e-mail address, the Clerk's Office called
them with the phone numbers provided. If an individual failed
to complete the questionnaire after the first two attempts to
contact them, the Clerk's Office called each individual
for a third and final attempt. There were only thirty-seven
jurors that failed to complete the questionnaire. Because of
this process, Payne's Motion is denied concerning the
methodology for potential jurors without computers to
complete the questionnaire.
Statement of the Case
to his next objection, Payne argues that “the statement
of facts in the questionnaire presumes facts that the
government must present and prove at trial as facts that have
already been proved.” (Mot. to Disqualify 7:3-4).
Specifically, Payne asserts that the Court “failed to
use the word ‘alleged' when describing the conduct
involving ‘the unlawful grazing on federal public
land.'” (Id. 8:24-25).
Government responded that Payne “provides no authority
for this proposition” and that “the statement
correctly [indicates] that the charges were allegations and
that the defendants have pleaded not guilty.” (Resp.
5:5-6). In compiling the questionnaire, the Court reviewed
all proposed statements of the case and constructed the one
provided in order to be as succinct and clear as possible.
Even so, as the Government pointed out, “any jurors
actually chosen for service will be instructed as to ...